Causeway Walkways Slated for Late-August Completion

Jul 25, 2018
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

Construction of sidewalks under and around the West Thorofare Bridge, one of three trestle bridges linking Stafford Township to Long Beach Island, is slated for completion late next month, according to state transportation officials.

“Currently, work is being done on the retaining walls,” Dan Triana, public information officer for the state Department of Transportation, said recently. “Once the work is complete and the equipment for the retaining wall is cleared, work on the sidewalk will continue without the potential of damage that may result from the equipment.”

The sidewalks are expected to improve pedestrian and bicycle access for both commuting and recreational purposes to Long Beach Island by offering a contiguous path between the barrier island and the mainland, he said.

“Pedestrian sidewalks will be provided along Eighth and Ninth streets, Barnegat Avenue, Central Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard in Ship Bottom,” he said, noting the project is part of the pedestrian safety improvements and connectivity for the Island during the final phase of the project.

Bicyclists have not been forgotten, and to date a 6-foot-wide outside shoulder to accommodate cyclists on the east and west trestle bridges has already been constructed, according to Triana.

“Hilliards Thorofare is currently under construction and will offer the same bicycle accessibility,” he said. “The rehabilitated Manahawkin Bay Bridge will have a 13-foot outside shoulder to facilitate bicyclists.  A 10-foot multi-use walkway constructed on Cedar Bonnet Island to the west of the West Thorofare Bridge will accommodate both pedestrian and bicycle traffic.”

Triana said completion for the entire $312 million Causeway rehabilitation and expansion project as well as the completed bicycle and pedestrian improvements is currently scheduled for the end of 2021. Work began in 2013.

In the end, the Causeway, a 3-mile stretch connecting the mainland, Stafford Township, to Long Beach Island, will entail one big bridge to carry traffic west, or off the Island, and another bridge to flow eastward. The new bridge, south of the old one, is 2,400 feet long with a vertical clearance of 55 feet above Manahawkin Bay. The bridge project is being done through separate contracts to expedite design and construction, he said.

The final phase of the project calls for the reconfiguration of the traffic circle in Ship Bottom into a square. The area in question is located along the western property line of the Arlington Beach Club condo complex and Long Beach Boulevard.

The site of the beach club is to be squared off to make room for the traffic flow changes on Eighth and Ninth streets as well as Central Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard, according to Triana. The DOT’s proposed improvements in Ship Bottom include converting a section of Long Beach Boulevard, the main thoroughfare on the 18-mile Island, into a two-way road at the site of the club, he said.

Central Avenue, the one-way road southbound between Third and 11th streets in Ship Bottom before motorists come to the traffic circle, is also expected to be reconfigured, Triana said. This section of the road would be converted to allow for two-way traffic. Left turns at Central Avenue would be prohibited at the intersection with Eighth and Ninth streets. Other roadway improvements include widening the road along Eighth and Ninth streets by 13 feet to accommodate an additional lane of traffic, a 3-foot-wider inside shoulder and a new 8-foot-wider shoulder, according to Triana.

The precise timing of the work is subject to change due to weather or other factors. Motorists are encouraged to check the DOT’s traffic information website, 511nj.org, for construction updates and real-time travel information, and for DOT news on Twitter @NJDOT_info.

— Gina G. Scala

ggscala@thesandpaper.net

(Photo by: Ryan Morrill)
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